It seems poetic that I finished my heart attack painting on the one-year anniversary of my heart attack. It is inspired by Frida Khalo’s The Broken Column. In mine, I am holding an unstretched canvas painted in my typical style, swirling with hopes and dreams. My grasp is tenuous, but I have not let them go.
One year ago today I almost died. But since then I’ve seen New Orleans with my family, and the Grand Canyon and Vegas with my husband. I got to see my daughter learn to drive, get her license, and her first car. I was here to help my mom when she needed a place to live for a while. I was ordained as an Elder in my church. I got to see so many sunrises and sunsets. Eat so much great food. Breathe so many breaths. Every day after the heart attack is an extra blessing; a surprise set of new days I always assumed I would have, until I almost didn’t.
And sure, I want to grow old. To be an old person. It infuriates me when people grumble about having to face another birthday, or adamantly deny their age. Don’t they know the gift they have been given? Gray hair. Wrinkles. I dream of these things. I pray for them. I want to complain about creaky bones and sagging skin. I want to sit out on the front porch with my equally grey husband, sipping tea and watching life go by. Creaky bodies in creaky chairs, enjoying the warmth of the sunlight on our wrinkly faces and the feel of the breeze in our grey hair. I want to see the adult my daughter will become.
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?